Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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Before the fall of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), there was no political philosophy or political movement which would have been equivalent to Liberalism (ziyouzhuyi) in the Western sense of the word. However, there have been approaches in Chinese classical political thought which are closely related to the basic concepts of Western Liberalism, such as the ideas of humanity, the uniqueness of the individual, resistance against the ruler, and finally even traces of the sovereignty of the people (for example in the works …

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Meissner, Werner, “Liberalism”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 29 November 2023 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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